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Relics - Pink Floyd

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Genre: Rock - Progressive Rock / Artist: Pink Floyd / Original recording remastered / Audio CD released 1996-02-26 at EMI

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    3 Reviews
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      24.06.2009 18:16
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      A classic album

      I grew up listening to early Pink Floyd as it was my father's favourite era of the band and he was always playing albums that my mother described as "loony", Relics was one that I really grew to like and I still prefer the Syd Barrett stage of Pink Floyd to any other and this compilation released in 1971 features quite a few tracks from the extremely early time.

      It's a very varied album with playful tracks with fun, innocent and almost childish qualities musically yet brave lyrics for the time like "Arnold Layne" (a track about a bloke who goes to prison for nicking women's underwear from washing lines) or "See Emily Play" (supposedly about LSD) or all out instrumentals like Interstellar Overdrive (awesome guitar riff) or the full out psychedelia of "Careful With That Axe Eugene".

      There's also the unique love song "Bike" with odd and amusing lyrics and a mouse called Gerald, the dreamy hippyish "Julia Dream", the heavy "The Nile Song" and perhaps the track seemingly most out of place the jazz-rock infusion with poppy McCartney sounding Roger Waters vocals "Biding My Time"

      For me my least favourite tracks on this album are the Nick Wright written "Remember A Day" and "Paintbox" - just a bit too weedy for me but it's a matter of taste and I'm sure it's many a hippy's favourites!

      I think this is probably one of the best albums ever made and one of the appealing things about it is that unlike any other psychedelic band of the time, they have an extremely clear sound devoid of chaos and distortion. Between the bursts of powerful riff on Interstellar Overdrive, the song is ridiculously minimalistic for several minutes but it works exceptionally well.

      1 Arnold Layne
      2 Interstellar Overdrive
      3 See Emily Play
      4 Remember A Day
      5 Paintbox
      6 Julia Dream
      7 Careful With That Axe Eugene
      8 Cirrus Minor
      9 Nile Song
      10 Bidin' My Time
      11 Bike

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        16.09.2005 18:23
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        Turn on, tune in and drift away...

        Relics was originally released in 1971 inbetween "Meddle" and "Dark Side of the Moon" and features songs from the bands early years and some more obscure tracks from the period. The title jokingly reflects the choice of these older tracks.


        The Tracks

        Arnold Layne (Syd Barrett)
        Interstellar Overdrive (Syd Barrett/Roger Waters/Richard Wright/Nick Mason)
        See Emily Play (Syd Barrett)
        Remember A Day (Richard Wright)
        Paintbox (Richard Wright)
        Julia Dream (Roger Waters)
        Careful With That Axe, Eugene (Roger Waters/Richard Wright/David Gilmour/Nick Mason)
        Cirrus Minor (Roger Waters)
        The Nile Song (Roger Waters)
        Biding My Time (Roger Waters)
        Bike (Syd Barrett)


        Pink Floyd originally consisted of Syd Barrett (vocals, guitar), Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals), Roger Waters (bass, vocals) and Nick Mason (drums). David Gilmour joined the band to take over guitar duties from Barrett when his drug habits began to affect his performances and eventually when Barrett left he band in 1968 Gilmour became a full time member as guitarist and vocalist.

        For those of you who are familiar with the later incarnation of Pink Floyd in the 70's and 80's post- Syd Barrett Relics will be a real surprise. The polished and increasingly epic sounding tracks that we know from albums such as, 'Wish You Were Here' and 'The Wall' were still a long way in the future although clearer musical connections can be made with the more experimental 'Dark Side of the Moon'. The songs we find on this album are excellent examples of the Floyd as the avant-garde psychedelic band of the late 60's experimenting with light shows in live performances and enthusiastically embracing novel recording techniques (as well as copious amounts of 'marijuana' and LSD) to bring out some of the most inventive music of the era.

        I first bought this album in the mid 70's for 99p and even then it was great value. Originally it was released as a sampler for the bands early music on a cheaper branch on the EMI label. Since then I've replaced it with a cd re-mastered version and it sounds as innovative on a recent listening as it did when I first played it on my old turntable.

        'Relics' is effectively a sampler compilation album containing tracks from Pink Floyd's previous albums 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' (mostly Barret compositions), 'A Saucerful of Secrets', 'More' (a film soundtrack) includes singles, 'See Emliy Play' and 'Arnold Layne' and 'Paintbox'.

        The music illustrates what the Floyd were all about before they became the big stadium Prog. rock album band that people are more familiar with today. Song like 'Arnold Lane' and 'See Emily Play' did actually get into the charts but even then the Floyd were aiming at a different audience and concentrated their efforts to suit the more experimental underground scene that provided a more cerebral listening experience that that required by your average teeny bopper...having a couple of spliffs before settling down to listen I'm sure also helped.

        One of the main driving forces behind the music at this time was the mercurial, self-destructive genius Syd Barrett. He was one of the major creative elements of the band in the early years as well as the obvious frontman and showman. While some post Barrett tracks are included on Relics such as a reworked version of 'Careful With That Axe Eugene' (featuring Mason) the sound and feel of the record is distinctly that of the Barrett influenced Floyd.

        While writing this review I was wondering how to describe the nature of the music to a contemporary listener. Looking for a definition of 'psychedelic' I found

        "Psychedelic- characterized by, or generating hallucinations, distortions of perception, altered states of awareness, and occasionally states resembling psychosis", and this does get us some of the way to describing the intended effect of the songs.

        This music was supposed to 'mess with you mind' or at least serve as a soundtrack for your (possibly but not exclusively drug induced) journey of 'self discovery', to provide an alternative viewpoint. The Floyd like other British psychedelic bands of the period (e.g. Soft Machine) made the most inventive use of the then new stereo technology and simple multi-track recordings. The composition of the songs themselves often containing long instrumentals either had an hypnotic quality as in 'Interstellar Overdrive' (a cut down version) or possessed quirky changes in tempo designed to take the listener by surprise as seen on 'Bike' and 'See Emily Play'.

        The Floyd's version of psychedelia also differed from the equivalent US version. The Floyd always produced a very English sounding music in the same way that The Kinks and The Who and later The Jam did. The feel of the songs often ventured in to the metaphysical and fantastical as witnessed on 'Careful With That Axe Eugene' and 'Cirrus Minor' but just as often it was grounded in ethereal folksy/jazzy vibes. The clear precise and very English vocal intonations on 'Julia Dream' accompanied by a dreamlike flute in the background perfectly brings to mind a balmy summers afternoon, leisurely drifting along in a boat on a willow lined English river. This music could not have come out of New York!

        The music featured on Relics has a whimsical quality to it. It is dark and brooding at times as seen on 'Nile Song' but doesn't overindulge in the cynicism that characterised the bands later work. If you like you could say there is still innocence here and the talent and enthusiasm of the band has not yet been jaded by experience. Relics more than any other album represents the transition in the Floyd's music from pure psychedelia to progressive rock.

        It is worth looking at some of the tracks in a little more detail to discover the playfulness with which the band approached their music at this time. 'Arnold Layne', which managed a top twenty spot in the charts, is about a very odd character that steals clothes from washings lines and is eventually arrested and imprisoned for his unusual crimes.

        "Arnold Layne' had a strange hobby
        Collecting clothes
        Moonshine washing line
        They suit him fine"

        This must have been quite a bold single to release at the time considering the subject matter.

        'See Emily Play' the bands most successful single at that time reaching number six, is a quite possibly about LSD, which considering the state of mind Barrett was in at the time is not a far-fetched assumption to make!

        "There is no other day
        Let's try it another way
        You'll lose your mind and play
        Free games for may
        See Emily play"

        'Bike' is the real oddity in this already unusual collection of tracks. It is a playful, unhinged love song

        "I've got a bike. You can ride it if you like.
        It's got a basket, a bell that rings and
        Things to make it look good.
        I'd give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it."

        All three unsurprisingly were Barrett compositions and I particularly like them for their simplicity their almost childlike feel even though they are not necessarily dealing with childish themes!

        There are hints of the bands previous flirtation with Blues and Jazz in 'Biding My Time' written by Roger Waters and giving a slight inkling of the style that was to dominate his later compositions in the 70's and 80's

        One further feature to mention is the cover. If you were lucky enough to have this on vinyl who would see a wonderfully detailed drawing (by Nick Mason) or a complex machine on the front resembling a weird Victorian instrument (maybe musical) but essentially a mad creation of some eccentric inventor, indistinct in its purpose. With the CD release they cleverly decided to bring the sketch to life and on the front cover of the new version we can see an actual 3D representation of this strange piece of Victoriana.

        Overall if you have yet to discover the delights of early Pink Floyd 'Relics' is well worth having. The collection of singles and album track is a good introduction to British psychedelia and fairly representative of the early period of the bands music. By including Barrett compositions and post Barrett tracks it also illustrated the gradual change to more conventional rock that the band eventually made in the mid 70's. The re-mastered cd version is excellent and considering the reliance and importance that the band set on the exact nature and purity of the sound they produce it is a worthwhile purchase. Unlike many other CD releases of previous vinyl albums the CD does not contain any extras tracks and maintains the same track order of the original.

        'Relics' is available from Play.com for £9.99 delivered.

        Thanks for reading and rating this review.

        © Mauri 2005

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          18.07.2000 07:07
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          The version of"relics" I own is actually the original vinyl circa 1971,with the pythonesque cover art rather than the repackaged CD version. They feature the same tracks in the same order so I think it is probably safe to assume that they are identical. "relics" harks back to the early days of Floyd (1967) when Syd Barrett was the driving force behind the band and before Dave Gilmour joined as it`s fifth member in 1968, and post Barrett (1968-1971. This is essentially a selection of singles from their psychedelic era with a couple of tracks from previously released albums. eleven tracks in all and all of them good,although if you have only heard "dark side of the moon" and later albums you will find this album rather different. Difficult to choose favourites but "see emily play" " "remember a day" and "interstellar overdrive" deserve a special mention. evocative of the psychedelic sixties, this is a must have for Pink Floyd fans.

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      • Product Details

        Disc #1 Tracklisting
        1 Arnold Layne
        2 Interstellar Overdrive
        3 See Emily Play
        4 Remember A Day
        5 Paintbox
        6 Julia Dream
        7 Careful With That Axe Eugene
        8 Cirrus Minor
        9 Nile Song
        10 Bidin' My Time
        11 Bike